Driving corporate sustainability forward
- Sustainability has become a higher priority for many businesses as investors, customers, and employees voice their support for diversity, equity, and inclusivity
- How are diversity and inclusivity related to the sustainability agenda, and how are companies implementing programmes and embodying ideals to help achieve greater equity in the workplace?
How Diversity and Inclusion Supports Sustainability
Pamela Chng, Co-Founder of The Bettr Group, explains inclusivity in the workplace is all about effective communication, understanding perspectives, and welcoming people from every corner of society into the discussion. “Including every individual regardless of where they come from is critical to human capital development in the future,” Chng notes. In other words, businesses will greatly benefit from increased diversity and inclusion efforts, because the human element of business is essential to long-term success.
Regan Taikitsadaporn, Asia Pacific Chief Human Resources Officer for Marriott International, adds how “companies that focus on diversity or have diverse workforces tend to perform better financially and offer better solutions that are more innovative.” Once again, the importance of the human element is made clear. Diversity and inclusion are not only about giving marginalised groups equitable opportunities, but rather about acknowledging and utilising people’s talent to create a better, more sustainable world.
Implementing Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Many companies are taking a top-down and bottom-up approach. This means at the ‘top’, company-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives are created and implemented, and are built into every aspect of the business. At the ‘bottom’, smaller goals are made and processes are changed in order to stay true to the ideals that have been communicated by the ‘top’.
Diversity and inclusion can look very different depending on the region, and this is a pain point for many companies when implementing initiatives. Jonathan Ly, Chief of Staff to the CEO and Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Richemont Asia Pacific, shares on a broad scale, his company thinks of diversity in terms of the following five pillars: disabilities, LGBT, gender, generation & mindsets, and culture & ethnicity.
As a top-down concept, this can be communicated with all employees and customers, but the problem, “depending on the region… employees or clients might want different approaches to diversity,” Ly says. One way of solving this is by taking the bottom-up approach and asking smaller regional branches to create their own local initiatives.
Pushing for more equitable treatment in the workplace is not only ethical, but also benefits companies in many ways. As Chng says, “the resilient and sustainable organisations of the future are those who intentionally create the culture and systems of inclusion and diversity.”
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